Fireworks are undeniably pretty and have long been used across the world to celebrate cultural festivities and special occasions. With bonfire just around the corner, you may be wondering are fireworks vegan? fireworks really are. Well, just like the traditional turkey dinner on Christmas day, fireworks are most definitely not vegan. Let’s explore why…

Fireworks contain animal-derived ingredients

Fireworks are produced using stearic acid, which is often derived from animal fat. While plant-based versions of stearic acid are available, it is not always clear which type has been used. Stearic acid is used in the production of fireworks to prevent oxidation of metal powders for the purposes of preserving the product for as long as possible.  

fireworks scared dog

Fireworks cause harm to animals

Fireworks cause immense suffering, injury and sometimes even death to a range of different animals. Those who live with companion animals will be well aware of the fear and distress fireworks can cause. In extreme cases, animals can even die from the shock, stress or direct injury caused by fireworks.

Many animals have hearing which is much more sensitive than that of humans. When fireworks go off, they sometimes cause permanent hearing damage to animals including hearing loss and tinnitus.


Animals in farms and zoos

Animals living on farms and in zoos can become very distressed by the bright lights and sudden loud noises associated with fireworks. They can become startled and attempt to flee, injuring themselves on fencing or other obstacles in their enclosures. Animals in zoos have been observed to display signs of distress long after the fireworks have ceased.


Fireworks also cause fear in birds which can lead to tachycardia and sometimes even death. Birds may fly into buildings or abandon the places they’ve made home, sometimes permanently. This can have an effect on any dependent young who are left helpless and may die as a result.

There are similar effects on small animals which often flee their homes due to fear, sometimes leaving helpless young behind. Some small animals are at risk of being burned from bonfires if they have made their homes in the areas where these are lit.

Aquatic life

Fish and other aquatic species can be harmed or killed by ingesting firework debris which contaminate rivers, lakes and ponds. Swans and ducks can also be harmed, by swallowing the debris or getting tangled in the litter.


As well as non-human animals, many humans also suffer the effects of fireworks. As well as sometimes causing direct physical injury, fireworks can be extremely distressing to those suffering with anxiety conditions such as PTSD. People recovering from traumatic experiences, such as war veterans and survivors of domestic abuse, can be triggered by loud noises which cause extreme distress, panic attacks and re-traumatisation.

Fireworks are bad for the environment

As well as causing direct suffering and harm to humans and non-human animals, fireworks cannot be considered vegan-friendly because they are harmful to the environment.

Fireworks unleash a cocktail of chemicals into the air, many of which can harm people, animals and the environment. The bright colours seen in firework displays are a result of metallic compounds, such as aluminium and barium which are known to be harmful to health.

Fireworks often contain oxidisers which dissolve in water and contaminate lakes, rivers and drinking water. In addition, fireworks emit pollutants which affect air quality. The debris from fireworks includes plastics and hazardous waste which negatively impact the environment. 

fireworks are bad for the environment

While more eco-friendly fireworks are available, they can still have some of the damaging effects mentioned in this article and are, therefore, not a viable solution from a vegan perspective.

With all this in mind, the answer ti the question are fireworks vegan? has been well and truly answered. Vegans should make a point of avoiding fireworks displays this bonfire night. Perhaps consider raising awareness instead, by taking a stance and telling others why you will be staying home on bonfire night this year.